It had been a while since Mike Minor was in any kind of venerable position in the month of July.
In 2015 and 2016, he was working his back from shoulder surgery. In 2017, he was a role player in the Kansas City Royals bullpen. Just last season, he was seemingly a failed experiment in the Texas Rangers' starting rotation.
This July, however, Minor is arguably the best pitcher in baseball and perhaps the most coveted starting pitcher on the trade market.
The 31-year-old left-hander boasts a 2.86 ERA over 129 innings through his first 20 starts of 2019. His ERA translates to an American League-best 177 ERA+. And according to Baseball Reference wins above replacement, he's been the most valuable pitcher in all of Major League Baseball:
1. Mike Minor, TEX: 6.1
2. Max Scherzer, WAS: 5.5
3. Lance Lynn, TEX: 4.8
4. Luis Castillo, CIN: 4.4
5. Hyun-Jin Ryu, LAD and Justin Verlander, HOU: 4.2
Is Minor actually the best pitcher in baseball? Probably not. But he's having a spectacular season by any measure, and pitching-needy contenders are lining up to bring him aboard.
The New York Yankees are interested, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Ditto for the Philadelphia Phillies, per Corey Seidman of NBC Sports Philadelphia.